AT THE INVITATION of President Ford, His Excellency Francisco da Costa Gomes, President of the Republic of Portugal, visited Washington on October 18. President Costa Gomes, who was accompanied by the Foreign Minister, Dr. Mario Soares, had meetings with President Ford and with Secretary of State Kissinger and was the guest of honor at a luncheon given by Secretary Kissinger.
President Costa Gomes outlined the achievements of the Portuguese Government in light of recent events in restoring civil and political liberties to Portugal and in creating the basis for a return to democracy. He reported on the negotiations which had led to the independence of Guinea-Bissau and explained his government's plans for the granting of self-determination and independence to the remaining overseas territories. He reaffirmed his government's commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty and its desire to develop even closer ties to the United States.
President Ford expressed his admiration for the statesmanship shown by Portuguese leaders in undertaking to restore democracy to Portugal by holding free elections soon and in making possible the enjoyment of the right of self-determination and independence by the peoples of Portugal's overseas territories. He noted with pleasure President Costa Gomes' reaffirmation of Portugal's commitment to NATO and expressed his confidence that ties between the United States and Portugal will become ever closer.
The two Presidents agreed that, as these developments proceed, it would be in our mutual interest to intensify the cooperation between the two countries to embrace new activities in a broad range of areas, such as education, health, energy, agriculture, transportation and communications, among others. They agreed that this expansion of their cooperation could begin with technical talks in the fields of agriculture, public health, education and financial and economic matters, as requested by the Portuguese authorities.
They also agreed that the two countries should continue and intensify negotiations relating to cooperation in the Azores.